Barnsley 1 (Wilkinson 4)
Chesterfield 3 (O’Shea 50, Ebanks-Blake 72, Morsy 74)
Barnsley slipped to an opening day defeat at Chesterfield despite taking the lead at the Proact Stadium.
Lee Johnson’s new-look Reds enjoyed some good passages of play and looked lively in attack, particularly with Crowley linking up well with front two Winnall and Wilkinson.
However, Barnsley his the self-destruct button in the space of two minutes in the second half, costing them at least a well-earned a point.
The Reds enjoyed a blistering start to the match as on four minutes, they took the lead through Conor Wilkinson. Dan Crowley raced forward after Hourihane had won the ball, he dinked forward for Wilkinson and the big striker worked the ball onto his left foot before absolutely lashing home from 10 yards into the bottom corner.
Barnsley were enjoying plenty of the ball and were looking to take the sting out of the game after its typically frantic start.
The home side responded on 12 minutes with a spell on the ball before O'Shea saw his effort deflected over for a corner. Sam Hird then went close for the Spireites after a well-worked short corner landed on right on his head from Jones' delivery. Fortunately Adam Davies was in the right place at his near post to deny the defender.
It probably should have been 2-0 on 19 minutes after great footwork from Wilkinson allowed Winnall in on goal. The forward opted to curl at goal with the outside of his right boot which went straight at Lee.
Jay O'Shea tested Davies with a long-range curler on 20 minutes but it was easy enough for the Reds' 'keeper to deal with.
Chesterfield's Ariyibi went on a long run down the left and skipped past Scowen before dancing into the box. Davies was alert to smother the danger at his near post as the winger looked to sneak the ball in from a tight angle.
At the other end Conor Wilkinson was sent in by Sam Winnall as the front two had seemed to pair up like a dream in the opening half-an-hour. His curling shot was blocked, however, before Crowley picked up the rebound to fire wide on 29 minutes.
With ten left of the first half, Marc Roberts went so close to doubling the Reds' lead. Conor Hourihane curled in an expert delivery from a free-kick won by Winnall and Roberts' powerful header went just wide.
Approaching half time, Davies took the precaution of tipping over Gardner's long-range drive which had plenty of power. From the resulting corner, Hird was thwarted once again by Adam Davies from barely two yards.
With just over four minutes gone in the second half the home side hauled themselves level. A deep delivery from the left was picked up by O’Shea who controlled before rifling into the corner.
A double sub for the Reds came three minutes before the hour. Conor Wilkinson and Dan Crowley were replaced by Marley Watkins and George Williams.
The home side had found some much needed confidence and were enjoying far more time on the ball than in the first half.
On 62 minutes the Reds rattled the post as Alfie Mawson met Sam Winnall’s wicked delivery from the right. Chesterfield then could have taken the lead up at the other end as Ebanks-Blake got on the end of Ariyibi’s cross but scooped over.
Three minutes later Josh Scowen was on the end of George Smith’s cross after Houirhane laid back for the defender to swing in. Unfortunately, the midfielder couldn't direct his free header on target at the far post.
From being in complete control in the first half, the Reds hit the self-destruct button as they conceded two goals in the space of two minutes.
On 72 minutes Ebanks-Blake pounced to make it 2-1 but the killer blow came two minutes later. George Williams’ clearance landed at the feet of Morsy and he curled home in off the post from the edge of the box.
Hourihane had a chance to pull one back with a free-kick placed right on the edge of the box following Watkins’ run being halted. However, the Irishman blasted over the bar much to everyone’s disappointment.
Barnsley kept plugging away but the openings they enjoyed so often in the first half dried up.
Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot (Raglan 77), Jones, Hird, Evatt, Morsy, Banks, Gardner, Ariyibi (Dieseruvwie 90), O'Shea, Ebanks-Blake (Gnanduillet 81).
Subs: Cairns, Humphreys, Harrison, Onovwigon.
Reds: Davies, Smith (Rothwell 83), Scowen, Roberts, Mawson, Nyatanga, Pearson, Hourihane, Crowley (Williams 57), Wilkinson (Watkins 57), Winnall.
Subs: Townsend, Maris, Digby, Phenix.
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Assistant Referees: David Storrie & Simeon Lucas
Fourth Official: Craig Taylor
Attendance: 8,117 (1,975 Reds)